This blog covers the new features and enhancements in the SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom Q2 2019 Release.
Please note that the Analytics Cloud Help documentation is updated at the same time as the upgrade to this release, so the links here may not yet reflect what is described below until after the upgrade is complete.
Make sure to Upgrade your SAP Analytics Cloud agent to the latest agent version 1.0.211 to take advantage of all the data acquisition types.
These are the data acquisition minimum requirements:
- Version 1.0.99 for SAP ERP / SQL databases
- Version 1.0.91 for SAP Universe (UNX)
- Version 1.0.109 for SAP Business Warehouse (BW)
- Version 1.0.75 for all other data source types
For more information, see the SAP Analytics Cloud System Requirements and Technical Prerequisites.
Highlighted Feature Updates
The features listed in the highlights section are the top feature enhancements in Q2 2019
- Unbooked data table enhancement
- BPC integration – Mass data input for BPC live connection
- Copy Calculated Accounts across Models for Data Actions
- Link functionality for Data Actions
- Hide referenced columns of front-end calculations
- Visual Formulas
- Specify booking account for allocation steps
- Set Data Locks within a story
- Waterfall Chart on Live BW and S/4 HANA on-premise
- Waterfall Chart with 4-member Color Scheme
- Geo layer support for SAP BW
- Variance chart support for SAP BW
- Rename measure and dimension descriptions
- Story and page dynamic time filters based on Custom Current Dates
- Removed member count limit on input controls based on flat dimensions
- Sharing private and global bookmarks
- Performance improvement when filtering across models
- Smart Predict
- Apply output variable selection to predictive models
Additional Feature Updates
- Create full context calculations
- Data entry enhancement
- Show option for reason for unplanned data
- Advanced Formula performance improvements
- Context information for input tasks in Calendar view
- Calendar style improvements
- Use input values when running a predictive forecast
- Specify actions at due date for input and Calendar tasks
- Reviewer chains for calendar tasks
- Custom sorting for account dimensions in table
- Option to publish data collection tasks with your calendar tasks
- Create input tasks on responsive pages
- Data Actions – Option to select target currency
- Trigger planning sequences in stories via live connection to the embedded BPC system
- Remove assignees from input and calendar tasks
- Respect leaf waiting when copying and pasting
- Structured allocation enhancements
- Connect to S/4HANA on-premise systems through front-end servers
- Migration of model permissions from roles to teams and sharing settings
- Changes to roles during migration
- Editing model’s sharing settings after migration
- Analytics Hub – Include assets in existing administrative download/upload
- Set the Session Timeout
- Additional language support for SAP Analytics Hub
- Transpose columns with unpivot transform
- Import data from sources on different networks and multiple systems on each network
- Share connections with all users
- Geo dimensions can support up to one million members in data preparation
- Live connection to SAP HANA as a Service (HaaS)
- SuccessFactors queries with effective dates
- Google Sheets import enhancements
- Model creation enhancements
- Import data from an entity directly into a dataset
- SAP BW import enhancements
- Import data from Dow Jones articles
- Schedule jobs adjust for Daylight Savings Time
- Area name geo enrichment model enhancements
- oAuth support for BPC connections
- Browser-based data blending between live data models from BW or HANA and import data models
- Chart support short, medium and long text
- Alter order of measures in tables for live BW connections
- Show measure and dimension descriptions in Calculation Editor
- Enhanced Waterfall Nested Axis Labels
- Absolute base value for % Variance and % Difference From calculations
- Performance enhancements
- Support for dynamic HANA input parameters
- Exporting story content in a merged PDF
Highlighted Feature Updates
We are pleased to launch Analytics Designer in SAP Analytics Cloud! Analytics Designer enables advanced scripting with a rich set of capabilities for professional designers of analytic applications for multiple business, planning and predictive scenarios. With Analytics Designer, you can drive standardization of centrally governable analytics content, create reusable UI elements and application logic (such as headers, footers, toolbars), and extend applications via custom widgets and APIs. Stories and analytic applications share functionality and widgets, so business users experience the same look and feel at view time.
The below diagram outlines the similarities between stories and applications:
- Applications and Stories share functionality and widgets
- Applications and Stories provide same user experience
- Applications and Stories are different artifacts
- Applications and Stories are created with different Design Environments
Want to see more details on Analytics Designer capabilities? Please navigate to the SAP Analytics Cloud Product Plan.
In tables, you can now easily display and enter data for selective unbooked dimension member combinations.
You can now submit data via mass data entry mode into BPC live models.
When creating a Data Action, you can now add Cross-Model Copy Actions that copies data from calculated accounts across models.
Like the ability to link to source models utilizing account formulas, you can now use the link function within advanced formulas to copy or read data from other models.
Less is more! After creating calculation columns in your tables (such as running sums, moving averages, etc.), you are now able to hide the column(s) that the calculation was based on while the calculation column remains visible.
If you have limited expertise in programming, don’t fret! Visual Formulas allows you to write Advanced Formula rules by simply dragging and dropping.
When you are creating an allocation step, you can specify a Booking Account. If a Booking Account is set, all results calculated when executing the allocation step will be booked to that account instead of the original accounts. This holds for both allocated values and eliminations. This can be combined with the options: Keep Source and Overwrite Target.
You can now set Data Locks on a table from within a story. The initial drill state of the data locking editor is given by the selection in the story.
Want to share your Analysis for Office Excel files? You can now upload macro-enabled Excel files (.xlsm) into Files so it can be accessible by your SAC friends!
Who doesn’t like to be organized? Models can now be organized in folders. Existing models are migrated to the Public > Models folder, and existing Points of Interests are migrated to the Public > Points of Interest folder. No need to modify security roles to share models. You can:
- Save models privately and share them directly with users or teams
- Save models into team-specific folders
- Save models into Public subfolders created by Administrators
A Sharing Settings dialog makes it easier to see which users and teams have access to specific models.
For more information, please read Model Migration to Files.
Import data connection to SAP Integrated Business Planning is now available. Follow the usual on-premise setup by declaring the system in the SAP Cloud Connector administration panel and installing the SAC Cloud Agent.
You can now combine data using up to three composite join keys.
Reflect query structure from BW query
Boost your productivity when you create BW models! Uploaded BW data now respects the model structure. The wrangling session will have inherited modeling structure from the BW source that includes dimensions, attributes, attribute data types, and hierarchies. Please note that you’ll need SAP Analytics Cloud agent version 1.0.223 or later.
Need to make some quick annotations? You can now add a drawing or text to a Story or Boardroom page in the mobile app. When you’re done, share the screenshot with your colleagues.
Please note that this is currently available on the Story or Boardroom page and not on full screen widget.
Get insights and dive deeper in your geo map analysis when you’re on the go! You can now view and interact with geo maps on the SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app by exploring your choropleth and drill layers. Please note that geo on mobile does not currently support the following basemaps: Transparent Dark Gray, Night Time Streets, and China-based basemaps. Stay tuned for more!
The SAP Analytics Cloud iOS SDK now supports AirWatch SDK integrated authentication with certificates. Apps built using the SAP Analytics Cloud iOS SDK integrated with AirWatch SDK can pull digital certificates from AirWatch for user authentications on live connections. Please note that this is only applicable for customers using AirWatch MDM in their organization.
Check this out! We have an exciting list of Waterfall Chart capabilities that are now supported on Live BW and S/4 HANA models:
- Create single-level waterfall chart using any measure
- Add a second dimension
- Select interim totals
- Position parent totals before or after its children
- Decide whether the first measure starts from baseline or aggregated on top of last total
- Hide or show the root node
- Select whether the breakdown values will represent delta or actual values
Add some more color to your charts with this new option to select and create a waterfall color scheme that has four color members. Colors can represent increase, decrease, totals, and intermediate totals. This helps you easily distinguish between totals and intermediate values.
Geo layers are now supported with SAP BW/4HANA 2.0. Note that this does not include support for Choropleth layers.
Now the ability to create variance in charts is supported on SAP BW/4HANA and SAP BW 7.5 on HANA. Please note that this currently does not include variance based on Version and Time.
Story designers can now rename measures and dimensions in the story without having to access the models. The new descriptions will be local to the story and will not be reflected in the actual models. As well, the descriptions will persist when the widgets are copied to another page or story. When copied to another story where the same measure or dimension has been renamed, a notification will appear to let you select which description should be kept in the story.
Story designers can now create dynamic time input controls (page and story) with ranges based on a custom current date. This input control will appear in the story filter bar.
The story viewer can see the specified current date on the page or story instead of using the browser’s system date. Note that only one Custom Current Date input control can be used in a story.
After the selection, the Custom Current Date input control will drive all the linked dynamic time range filters in the story.
This input control can be linked to dynamic time range filters regardless of models used, given that they are non-fiscal, or both with the same fiscal shift. The Custom Current Date selection is captured when a bookmark is created.
Story Designers can now create input controls with more than 4,000 members where all the dimension members are accessible to the users via the backend search. This is only available for filters with dynamic list of values, or where Story Designers have selected the “All Members” option. For static filters where the story designers have fixed selections, the 4,000 limit still applies. This is available for live and acquired HANA connections, supports story, page and topic filters on flat dimensions. Cascaded filters are not yet supported.
Story viewers now have access to dimension members beyond the 4,000 limit via backend search. You can select all the values that resulted from the search, given that the search result list has less than 4,000 members. The first 100 members are initially loaded, then the next members will be loaded in the background as users scroll down the widget. Note that deselecting values may result in an exclude query. The loading of filtered members in the background is a performance improvement as it reduces the time it takes to open existing stories.
Story viewers now have an ability to share their private bookmarks with other users, as long as the users have story access.
Story owners and story designers are now also able to create global bookmarks that are available to everyone with story access. When sharing the story, you can choose a global default bookmark for the selected set of users. Global bookmarks can also be shared with individual users or teams.
Bookmarks can be easily shared via a direct link found in the share dialog.
When two datasets are linked together using one dimension and a story or page filter is created based on an unlinked dimension, indirect filtering occurs. Backend logic for processing indirect filters has been enhanced to overcome performance issues and data volume limitations.
The performance improvements are focused on the following scenarios:
- Models linked by a flat dimension with a filter on an unlinked dimension.
- Models linked by a time dimension with the same time dimension used as a filter. This was previously treated as an indirect filter.
For your predictive models, you can now select which variables from the input dataset that you want to add to the output dataset.
Additional Feature Updates
In tables, you can now create “full context” calculations. These calculations apply to a single column or row instead of a member.
Efficiency is key, in tables you can enter values that are less than 1 without the leading 0. For example, you can enter “.194 Million” instead of “0.194 Million”.
For tables, you can now show the option “Reason for unplannable data” for cells that are not input-enabled.
Advanced formulas keep on getting better! Now only selected records from version data are loaded by parsing the MEMBERSET functions and all formula statements. Unnecessary FOREACH loop statements are detected in syntax validation.
Please note that you must resave any Data Actions created before release 2019.3 for the performance improvements to be realized.
Find all your information in one place. You can now see context information for your Input Tasks that are listed in the Calendar view. Context allows you to link calendar task or process to any SAC model or story.
You can now use input values from any data version when running a predictive forecast.
Input and Calendar tasks just got more intuitive. Now you can automatically complete your tasks at due date and control assignee status transitions at task completion. This means that you can complete the task automatically but also control how the data is completed depending upon the current process state of the individual node.
For Calendar tasks, you can set up a reviewer chain. When one review is done, the task automatically passes to the next reviewer.
Enjoy more control with your tables with the new ability to edit the order of account dimensions from import models.
When you submit your Calendar task, you can now choose to publish data collection tasks as well.
Input tasks can now also be created with Stories containing only responsive pages.
Fancy using euros over dollars? Or prefer working with your local currency? For models with currency conversion, Data Actions can now be run on the currency of your choice. You have the option choose between default and local currency. This selection is used to create the version in Edit mode in the selected currency. However, please note that this setting will be ignored for private versions.
With just a simple click, Story Designers can now include a BPC Planning Sequence widget allowing Planners to easily trigger remote BPC calculation logic. Variables of these planning sequences can be set in the Stories. Please note that the BPC Work Status function can be used, although the planning function type file upload is currently not yet supported.
Need to switch team members in the middle of project? Seamlessly remove assignees from input tasks that are currently in progress.
When working with forecast layouts, you can conveniently copy and paste facts from one restricted measure to another, including leaf members. Keep in mind that facts must be defined on the same set of dimensions, and copying must occur on the same granularity.
Want better integration between different versions? We now support using drivers from other versions. When creating this structured allocation rule, choose an account calculated using the LOOKUP function.
No more unnecessary looping! Using FOREACH.BOOKED, you can now choose to repeat statements only against booked cells.
The quick action menu for table cells has been updated so when you select a table cell, you can easily bring up the context menu with a right click.
In your table, you can now combine creating new members in dimensions with creating a new line for booking the data.
You can now create live data connections to S/4HANA on-premise systems that are federated through an SAP S/4HANA front-end server or SAP Fiori FES. After you choose SAML single sign-on as your authentication method when creating new connections, you can then enter your “Target System Alias”. When logged on via SAML, you can also create or edit these connections and access the S/4HANA system.
This upgrade will include a migration of existing permissions. No need to fret as you won’t lose access to your models during the migration.
A team will be created with the same name as the role (the creator will be “SYSTEM”) and users assigned the role will be added to the team. The team will be granted equivalent Sharing Settings on the models in Public > Models folder. Where roles are already assigned to teams, the existing team will be granted equivalent Sharing Settings on the models.
To Read, Update, Delete, or Maintain a model, you will need to be assigned both the general application privilege (assigned via a security role) and the Sharing Setting on the model itself (can be applied on the model directly via a parent folder).
Roles that granted access to some models but not others will be updated to include the corresponding top-level Read, Update, Delete, or Maintain model permissions.
Like stories and files, you can also edit the following sharing settings on a model:
- Model owner
- Users granted Full Control (or Read and Share permissions)
- Users who belong to a team of which is granted Full Control (or Read and Share permissions)
- Administrators who have access to Browse > Files > System
It is advised to avoid resetting permissions on Browse > Files > System > Public > Models, unless you want to overwrite the migrated sharing settings on models. It is best to create your own folders, move models into them, and reset permissions for users and teams who need access moving forward.
Analytics Hub Administrators can now import Analytics Hub content when using the existing “Reset & Upload” workflow. Contents include:
- Assets (Visible, Hidden, Draft)
- User data, including favorites
- Picked for you
- Usage data
Through the System Configuration, you are now able to adjust the Session Timeout so you can remain logged on when inactive. You will need to click Log On to reload the last visited page or story. The default Session Timeout is one hour. Story embedded, and Boardroom view mode do not time out.
SAP Analytics Hub now supports the following additional languages:
- Portuguese (Portugal)
Manage crosstabs with this new unpivot transformation. After applying this transformation to swap columns with rows, each header row will have its own column, and rows of the dataset will become the column headers. You can unpivot up to 50m cells at a time.
Please note that models created with unpivot can only be refreshed if the number of columns is the same as rows, and you will have to use the “import data” workflow to bring in new data with a different structure.
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) can now connect to multiple SAP Cloud Connectors (SCC). This allows you to connect to data across different networks, optimizing the locality of the data in the system. This feature allows you to declare distinct locations inside your data source configuration in System> Data source Configuration
Use the SCC’s “Location ID”, to specify which agent to connect to. On-premise connections have an extra “Location ID” for you to fill-in. This works when the SCC is running on different network segments, such as when a firewall separates the SCC from SAC system.
All sources that share connections from live and imported data sources, except for SAP Fieldglass, FileServer and SAP ERP, can now be shared with all users! This applies for both current and future users. Just type “All users” in the input text or select “all users” in the user and team selection panel. You can still pass on Read or Edit access to your users as well.
Want to better enrich your geo maps? The existing limit of 200,000 points of interests has been increased to 1,000,000 when geo enriching a dimension based on latitude and longitudes.
Live connections to SAP HANA 2.0 running on the Cloud Foundry as a service is now supported!
To get started, simply set-up and configure your SAP HANA Analytics Adaptor in your Cloud Foundry application runtime.
Please note: we only support single sign-on only. Currently, geo maps are not yet supported. Browser-based blending and SDI-based data blending is not supported.
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Want to know your employee insights for last year? Gather insights from SuccessFactors data from a specific snapshot in time. For example, you can create reports showing last month’s headcount, or the changes in the workforce over a given period.
Using the filter, you can now specify the as-of-date when running SuccessFactors queries. By default, the “Effective date” is today. Note that “As-of-Today” is dynamic when scheduling.
As shown below, you have the following options when creating your filters: range, before, after, as-of-date, as-of-today.
Select which sheet to import for Google Sheets. Please remember that you can work with up to 5M cells in a sheet.
When importing a smaller data file to create a model, you will be immediately directed to the data preparation area. No more unnecessary clicks!
Import data directly from an entity into a dataset and use it to perform predictive workflows from the following sources:
- Generic OData
- SAP SuccessFactors
- SAP Business ByDesign
- SAP Cloud for Customer
- SAP Cloud for Customer Analytics
- SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP)
During data wrangling, you can now join up to 10 datasets. As well, we now support Tabs as a delimiter for CSV files.
With your subscription to Dow Jones, access full datasets directly from SAC! If you want to try out the data, there is a built-in trial key that gives you access to a sample of the dataset. Note that only metadata is retrieved. Connection queries are asynchronous and can be refreshed. To ensure the best performance, it is recommended to add proper filters to your query if the underlying table contains over 2 billion rows.
If you are in a region that encounters Daylight Savings Time (DST), you now won’t need to worry whether to “spring forward” or “fall back” with your SAC clocks! For import and export jobs, the schedule timing now adjusts for DST according to the time zone you select. When creating a new schedule, it will default to the time zone of the browser. For existing jobs, you will have to open the models and set the DST.
Geo enriching by area now supports enriching all countries, regions, and subregions. Enriching is possible if the country data can be provided as ISO3 and ISO2 codes, or as full country names in English. Region and subregion must be in English as well. Geo-enriching at the country level is mandatory for imported data or data inputted by the user.
BPC connections now support oAuth tokens. With the combination of oAuth and SAML, you won’t need to re-enter your credentials. When compared to basic authentication, oAuth provides stronger security. With oAuth support, BPC user credentials will not be stored in SAC.
The SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app now requires iOS 11.0 or later. Please note that iOS 10 is no longer supported. Analytics Cloud Mobile app updates will not be available if you are still on iOS 10.
Bonjour, ciao, nǐ hǎo! You can now share and access your Stories in different languages! The menus, buttons, messages, and other elements in the mobile app now respect your device language settings. When you enter text, such as the Story name, it will not be translated, and it will be displayed in the original language. This first release currently supports 15 languages. Stay tuned for more!
Feel like you always need your system administrator for blending? Say no more! Story Designers now can now blend between live models from BW or HANA 2.0 with import data models using your web browser without needing the system administrator to set up Smart Data Integration (SDI).
Furthermore, no additional hardware deployment or licensing is required. Ensure that your SAP BW and HANA systems have the latest SAP Notes applied depending upon your deployment:
SAP Note 2737952 – SAP Analytics Cloud browser blending with SAP BW 7.5
SAP Note 2737953 – SAP Analytics Cloud browser blending with SAP BW/4HANA
Note 1: For Live HANA 2.0 version 2.00.024.05 (EPMMDS 1.00.201815.00) or higher is needed.
Note 2: Browser-based blending is limited to 2MB and is for on-premise HANA.
Charts can now support short, medium, and long text settings specified in BEx queries.
Tables based from live BW data sources now allow you to change the order of the displayed measures. Order altering is not available for measures with hierarchies.
Easily understand your formulas in the Calculation Editor now that it can display measure or dimension descriptions as well as IDs. In Edit mode, the ID is displayed while the formula is being modified as well as when you are working in the formula input area. In View mode, this will display the descriptions when you click outside of the formula input area.
Waterfall charts keep on getting better and better. Nested axis labels provide a cleaner look and feel, and an improved user experience overall. Dimension members are grouped and there is improved spacing between labels that will help you easily identify your measures and dimensions. Want this to be applied to all your waterfall charts? No need to worry – your existing waterfall charts will automatically be updated!
Use the absolute value of the denominator as the new default when calculating the % variance and % difference from. The resulting values will no longer deviate from the direction of their numeric counterparts which was the previous case whenever the denominator was a negative value. You will always be able to revert to the previous behavior if required.
Example: ?=−20 ;?=−40
Numeric Variance=? −?=−20−(−40)=20
〖% ????????〗_((??? ??ℎ?????))=(? −?)/?=(−20−(−40))/(−40)=−50%
〖% ????????〗_((??? ???????) )=(?−?)/|?| = (−20 −(−40))/|40| =50%
With on-demand loading of filter values, your Stories will render faster! Previously, the filters’ list of values and the Story data itself were loaded simultaneously. The loading list of values for collapsed filters is now delayed until you expand it. Therefore, greater priority is given to displaying the data in the page: charts, tables, expanded input controls.
Please note that the dimension member count will no longer be displayed next to the dimension name if the Story Designer selects “All Members”.
As a part of our performance enhancements, when opening an SAC story from a direct link, persisted queries are now submitted during the startup sequence. We have also improved SAC’s logic to batch queries where possible. Please note that the batching of queries only applies if there is no data cache available. This is currently supported in the Chrome browser.
HANA input parameters are considered ‘dynamic’ if they use an expression to determine their value. Control at the story and widget level to access up-to-date dynamic variable values.
Story viewers are now able to create a single PDF export containing each member of the story input control. Only one story input control can be selected per batch export. Note that story filters based on time dimensions are not yet supported.
Smart Predict now provides debrief reports for a segments-based time-series model. This contains more than 20 segments which can be generated individually on-demand rather than automatically during the training process. Each segment can be selected from a dropdown list to generate the report. For predictive models with less than 20 segments, all the debrief reports are created during the training and are available at the end of training.
Create new predictive scenarios while adding new and improved models to existing predictive scenarios in a Predictive Analytics integrator (PAi).
In the classification or a regression predictive model debrief, the variables with no influence are no longer displayed.
Modeling just keeps getting better with all these improvements:
- Modeler undo/redo
- Hierarchies can be created and maintained in the side panel
- Model and dimension preferences now appear in the side panel
When a time-range input control is created with a fiscal year hierarchy, the title of the input control displays “Fiscal Year”.
SAP Analytics Cloud now supports tuple filters in SAP BW queries. This includes filtering with multiple dimensions in addition to using the “AND” and “OR” operators. The feature requires BW/4HANA 2.0, BW on HANA 7.5 SP16 (September 2019).
You can create filters by selecting multiple data points in the widget. Note that “Exclude”, blending, and linked analysis between widgets that contain tuple filters are not yet supported. Hierarchy and Currency Unit cannot yet be filtered.